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Best Birding Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Review
Here are some of the latest and greatest birding apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
and Android. Three that
stick out among the competition are the iBird Pro, the BirdsEye and the Audubon
Field Guide to North American Birds applications. All three have field guide related information, but the BirdsEye app also allows
users to see what birds have been recently sighted in specific locations and has
an inventory of birding hotspots as well. Here are some of the highlights of
Interactive field guide for every species (924) found in North America, Canada,
Hawaii, and all coasts and islands, even extinct birds!
Audubon-quality full sized color illustrations, with perching and flight views
Full color range maps for every species
Search by song, conservation status, genus, species, shape, size, color,
flight pattern, bill shape and length, wing shape and more
Lifetime updates to bird species information
iBird Explorer Pro Overview
Note: This video has a 30-second commercial prior to the interview with Dr.
Kiki. Sorry, I have no control over it, but hold in their if you want to see a
tour of iBird and its features. The other videos below are commercial-free. :-)
A user review of iBird Explorer Pro app for iPhone:
"Being able to search by pattern is a killer feature. Search by length, weight
and wingspan has revealed things about birds I was never aware of like being
able to find the birds that have the widest wingspan or longest length. Also,
thank you for letting me now sort the families by alphabetic as the taxonomic
search really was confusing to me. But my favorite feature is almost an
afterthought - share to hear a bird sing and see its species page. I'm using
that feature to teach my daughter how to identify birds by their song and its
just really fun." -BlackRail (iBird Explorer Pro App is also available for Android).
Compare similar species (illustrations, range maps and songs) on one
Create, save and share checklists
Zoom in to see fine detail
Browse illustrations just like a book
Add your own photos to each species
A user review of Peterson's Birding app:
"This app is amazing. The user-friendly interface makes it one of the most
useful of the birding apps currently available, and the pictures, replete with
identification points, are second to none." -Dylan
Peterson Birds of North America Review
Those of you who are Peterson guide birders will especially enjoy this app.
Several reviewers have said they like it even better than having their field
guide book, especially that you can instantly listen to songs in addition to
viewing identification details. Like National Geo, it's also priced at an
affordable $9.99. It does not have photos of the birds, but Peterson drawings
instead which I think is always better for bird identification.
Features of the Sibley eGuide
to the Birds of North America App:
Over 6600 images
Every species is shown perched and in flight from above and below.
Shows every major seasonal, age, and sexual variation.
Detailed coverage of subspecies and regional variations.
Detailed maps showing not just winter and summer range but also migration and
Detailed descriptions of songs and calls, comparing similar species measurements
of length, wingspan, and weight for every species.
One-tap enlargement of images and rotating the device expands images further.
Over 2300 carefully-selected and edited sound recordings. Nearly all species
are represented with multiple examples showing the range of vocalizations.
The ability to compare any two images, maps, or sounds, side by side on the
The ability to filter by state/province, so that you see only the species
likely to occur in your location, and to further reduce the possibilities to the
most common birds in that area.
The ability to search by distinguishing features such as size, prominent
A basic personal species list that stores your sightings saved to the device
A Sibley eGuide user review:
"This is just like my field guide but now on my phone. The sibley guide is the
best guide in print, and now its the best on a mobile device." -
MikeSears (Sibley eGuide App is also available for Android).
Unique search function for identifying bird by song type or pattern, wing
shape, time of year, by state/province, locomotion and more
Up-to-date range maps with wintering maps for 125+ migrating birds
A user review of Audubon Field Guide App:
"I think this is the best bird app hands down....the images are superior;
the 2,300 songs and calls are more detailed, with more variety, and of superior
quality; and the detailed descriptions of individual species' make this app an
extraordinary resource for anyone, novice or expert." -inthefield
Audubon Birds App for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Walk-Through
For those of you who prefer photos of birds for identification over drawings
(which we personally do not), you may like the Audubon app better than the
Peterson, National Geographic or Sibley apps which do not have photos, but
drawings. The iBird Explorer Pro has both and would be our choice if you wanted
Features of the National Geographic Handheld Birding App:
Sort by location, size and color through 867 birds of North America
View more than 1600 bird images, listen to bird songs, 650 range maps,
behavior and more
Search for birds by name and the list updates and shortens as you type in
the search box
A user review of National Geographic Birding app:
"Unlike others, I have found the search features to be extremely helpful. The
search will find, for example, all the gulls. If you type in the word 'gull', it
instantly tells you your search matches 27 birds, If you press the 'Birds'
button it will take you to where you can scroll through all 27 gulls. You can
also add things like color, size and range in the search to narrow the results."
This app would be a nice companion to the National Geographic's Field Guide to
the Birds of North America, for those who prefer it over Peterson field guides,
and/or instead of when you didn't have your guide book with you. It's also
priced relatively cheap at only $10, but that could be soon rising to $14.99.
The search function seems to one of the highlights of this birding app, though
we think Peterson's app is better at the same price because of added
functionality and features.
Powered by eBird, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and
New observations are downloaded from eBird over the network
Over one million bird observations each month reviewed by local birding
Map of 25,000 birding hotspots
Can show you where any one of 847 North American species has been seen
recently – and even give you directions
Keeps a record of your life list
For the 470 most observed North American birds (377 additional bird
content can be purchased separately) there are photographs, songs and calls
and Kenn Kaufman's notes about the species.
A user review of BirdsEye app for iPhone:
"What makes this
birding app for iPhone so extraordinarily useful for identifying birds is that it shows
you the birds that have been reported near your location within the last several
days. This narrows the range of possibilities and, combined with the beautiful
and detailed bird photos, allows for rapid identification. It also gives you the
locations of nearby hotspots that are open to the public and tells you what
birds have been spotted there recently. While other bird field guides for the iPhone are certainly useful, this one is unique and deserves consideration by
any serious birder." - Jerry Feld
We think this would be a good app to have in addition to one of the other
birding apps on this page which are more for identification purposes. BirdsEye
would be especially useful when you are traveling and want to see new species in
locations you aren't as familiar as your home town.
BirdLog comes from the makers of the BirdsEye App above & the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology. It's an easier, faster and more accurate way of recording birds you
see instantly while out and about instead of using field books and/or entering
your sightings into your computer when you return home. I know this would have
saved us a lot of time when we were doing our bird surveys. This is a great
birding app for anyone who likes to keep a checklist.
Some Features of BirdLog App:
Create lists even when there is no cell coverage
Quick Entry bar makes data entry fast and easy
Create new personal locations or choose and existing hotspot or personal
location for your checklist
Keeps a running total of the number of species on your checklist
Plot the exact location of your sightings using your phone's GPS
How to Use BirdLog Review:
A user review of the BirdLog app:
"I record birds in the app as I see them, walking on a trail or yes, in a swamp.
BirdLog is even smart enough to keep a running tally of the number of each
species that I have seen on the bird outing. AWESOME. This is so much easier
than a running tally in a field notebook and more accurate than trying to keep
the tally in my head until the end of the outing." -Too Many Lattes (The BirdLog App is also available for Android).
Bird Codes is a simple birding app to help you
learn the four-letter bird codes, aka alpha codes or banding codes. Good when
recording birds in the field and unsure of the proper code. You'll also now now
what other birders are talking about in forums, blogs, bird alerts, birding
email lists, etc..
Some Features of Bird Codes App:
Search by bird name or by code
Contains alpha codes for all 2,078 AOU (American Ornithologists' Union)
Easy to use app, only 99¢
A user review of the BirdLog app:
"Simple and straightforward app that does exactly what it is designed to do.
Very helpful for looking up those hard-to-remember codes." - Canicas
On a side note, for those banders or ringers out there, there is a free Band
Codes app that in addition to the 4-letter banding codes also provides band size
as a back-up, double-check. It also gives notes when banding certain species.
This one is free, but does not have all the AOU species as mentioned above. So
if you are a birder, not so much a bander, get the Bird Codes app.
Whether you are a beginner bird watcher or an expert ornithologist, any of these six birding apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device would be a
great addition to your birding knowledgebase that is extremely portable. All
six, we believe, are bargain prices for the amount and quality of information
you receive about birds for your mobile device. Choose the app that best suits
your learning style and the kind of information you would prefer most. Happy